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‘American Housewife,’ ABC Apology Demanded by Norwalk for ‘Disparaging’ Jokes About City

Mayor Harry Rilling says jokes about Connecticut town are “form of bullying”

Last Updated: November 29, 2017 @ 10:41 AM

Updated at 4:25 p.m. PT:

“American Housewife” producers have issued a statement promising to stop making jokes about Norwalk on the show: “As a comedy, ‘American Housewife’ isn’t intended to offend anyone. We’ve heard the concerns of the people of Norwalk and have made the decision to omit any mentions of the city from future episodes.”

Previously:

The fictional Westport, Connecticut residents on ABC’s “American Housewife” make the neighboring town of Norwalk the butt of many of their jokes, and now real-life residents are asking the show to find a different target.

The joke that residents have taken issue with came in the Halloween episode of the Katy Mixon-led sitcom, in which one character’s “Norwalk prom girl” costume involves a fake pregnancy belly under a dress. Currently in its second season, the show has made a number similar jokes throughout its run.

City officials have spoken out about the jokes, and Superintendent¬†Steven Adamowski went as far as to send a letter to ABC executives calling out the jokes about Norwalk children in particular, calling them “pejorative, demeaning and divisive.”

“In Norwalk, we teach our children from a young age that bullying in any form is not acceptable,” Adamowski wrote, according to the Norwalk¬†Hour. “Yet our high school students in particular now find themselves the target of stereotypes and prejudices, on a TV network owned by Disney.”

The city’s mayor, Harry Rillings, also spoke out against the show, calling the jokes “a form of bullying.”

“Making fun of Norwalk students, making fun of any students is really inappropriate and it’s painting Norwalk with a broad stroke ugly brush, and nothing could be further from the truth,” he told the paper. “I plan on reaching out again, and I plan on continuing to reach out again until they stop. And if everybody in Norwalk, and everybody who is as offended as I am, stops watching the show, their ratings will go down and they’ll cancel it.”

(The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the total population of Norwalk is 88,400. The most recent episode of “American Housewife” was watched by 4.9 million viewers.)

One resident, Andy Ross, launched an online petition asking for an apology from Disney which has been signed by 526 people.

“ABC you should be ashamed of your self,” he wrote. “Norwalk is a great place to live and bring up children. We have culture, diversity and arguably a touch more class then does your producers and writers. STOP the bullying and the insults!”

ABC did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.